Mind the gap

Written by Katie Mackintosh on 28 October 2014

Life expectancy continues to vary widely across Scotland, a new report from the National Records of Scotland has shown.

East Dunbartonshire is winning the postcode lottery as those in the most deprived areas of Glasgow continue to miss out – men in the least deprived areas of Scotland may live 12.5 years longer than those in the most deprived areas, while women in the least deprived areas could expect to live 8.5 years longer than those in the most.
From grassroots to government, many have sought to make a dent in Scotland’s perplexing and persistent health inequalities gap. But the figures show we have barely scratched the surface.
We will never get past this unless we focus and invest in helping those who may have difficulty accessing mainstream services, RCN Scotland director Theresa Fyffe asserts.
Later this month RCN Scotland will launch a new campaign – ‘Nursing on the Edge’ – which, like the work of the Deep End GPs to raise awareness of the efforts of doctors working in some of the most deprived community of Scotland, will highlight how nurses are striving to identify those who find it more difficult to engage with mainstream services. They will also hold a parliamentary event in December to showcase some examples, Fyffe tells me.
These examples will challenge people’s perceptions of nursing, she adds.
“The picture of nurses is of nurses in uniform in hospitals with a scope around their neck. But these are nurses who are out there working in community settings. They are not wearing a uniform and you would wonder when you went in who was the client and who was the nurse.”
And yet, as has often been a problem with work to address health inequalities, a lack of continuous funding continues to be a challenge.
“My view is if the services we fund right now are shaped the way they are, they are never going to meet the needs of inequalities, then we are never going to reduce the gap.
“We’ve actually got to have a radical rethink if we want to make a difference.” 

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Katie Mackintosh

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